Much has changed since the launch of Destiny 2. Armor received a complete overhaul with Armor 2.0. Weapon and Armor Mods were streamlined, with the latter seeing a gradual expansion of options. Most recently, we had the introduction of Armor Synthesis, which provides the opportunity to create Universal Ornaments.
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Now, with all that change, there has been one core element in Destiny 2 that has remained relatively untouched — the Classes. For new players, understanding the Classes and all the systems and options beneath them is vital. Even for seasoned players, it doesn’t hurt to brush up on the basics, especially if you plan on kicking off a new Guardian. With that said, here are the Destiny 2 Classes explained.
Destiny 2 Classes Explained — The Basics
While the Class system in Destiny 2 is relatively simple, there are a lot of interwoven systems that you will slowly unravel the more that you play. Everything from your Armor Mods, Weapons, and even Exotic Armor are tied to your Class and the Subclass you choose to run. So before we dive into what makes each Class unique, let’s get some definitions out of the way.
What is a Class in Destiny 2?
Classes in Destiny 2 are the core character archetype that you choose at the start of the game. This includes the brutish Titan, elusive Hunter, and mystical Warlock. While the overall gunplay and upgrade process will be relatively similar between each Class, there are enough nuances and selection to make each option unique and useful in different ways. That starts with your Subclass options.
What is a Subclass in Destiny 2?
Subclasses serve as the specific options for how you decide to play a given Class. Currently, there are three different Light-based Subclasses — Solar, Void, and Arc, as well as one Darkness-based Subclass known as Stasis. The Light Subclasses are more traditional and have been rolled over from the original Destiny, albeit with the addition of three unique skill trees that further customize each one.
Stasis serves as a very different outlier, which switches out the skill tree system for inserts known as Aspects and Fragments. The options continue to grow with each new Season, meaning that the diverse playstyle of each Class is becoming all the more complicated.
What are Abilities in Destiny 2?
What truly makes each Subclass function, outside of the elemental burn, is the ability variants that they offer. Each Subclass offers different passive abilities, Grenade options, melee abilities, and Supers. You’re given the option to select which of these you want to run with, and can even connect specific Armor Mods and Exotic Armor buffs to specific abilities.
What are Supers in Destiny 2?
Supers are slightly more unique than the other abilities, given that they’re adjusted in terms of the skill trees you opt for. This can change specific elements of your Super, like allowing you to throw a Void shield versus executing a ground pound, or completely changes it into something else. Supers can drastically change the tide in a Raid or tight PvP game, meaning that most Guardians focus on creating builds around these actions.
How to Choose a Guardian Class
The next stop on our guide to Destiny 2 classes explained? It’s time to choose which Guardian Class is right for you. Now, keep in mind that you can run all three, so there’s no pressure to find the right one right off the bat. But if you’re short on time and plan to just grind out one Class, here’s how each one shakes out.
Destiny 2 Class — Titan
Titans are the bruisers and tanks of the Destiny universe. They’re far more forgiving thanks to generally higher Resistance and Regeneration stats. At the same time, ability execution is often a bit slower in exchange for more power — you’re a bit slower and your Supers are either purely offensive or defensive options.
The Titan Class is great for those that enjoy playing more aggressively and like getting up close. It’s also a great option for solo players, since the higher defensive capabilities make it much easier to survive more difficult encounters.
Titan Class Ability
As a Titan, your Class Ability allows you to erect a Barricade. These will absorb a fair amount of damage and will gradually turn red, eventually disintegrating once they’re spent.
The Towering Barricade produces an energy field about one and a half times the size of your guardian. This is a hard piece of cover, meaning that it works well as a defensive layer when holding ground. The Rally Barricade, on the other hand, is meant to be used to continue combat. This waist-high barrier provides essential cover that you can duck down behind, while also increasing your reload speed.
Every Titan Subclass uses the same three jump options. Here’s what you have to choose from.
- High Lift: Your second jump when airborne will activate a higher jump that sends you directly up into the air, with the ability to maneuver and fall slowly.
- Strafe Lift: For those that want more maneuverability, this jump will launch you into the air in whatever direction you want.
- Catapult Lift: If you’re needing to take on platforming sections, this jump will do the trick. It functions similarly to the High Lift option, but with a far stronger initial boost.
The Titan Subclass that you choose will dictate how you play. You’ll either be getting up close and personal, laying out AOE attacks, or providing support for the rest of your Fireteam. The Code (skill tree) you choose will either lean further into the specialty of a given Subclass or help balance out your play.
An adaptation of the Defender Subclass from the original Destiny, this Void-tinged Subclass serves as your best defensive option. With advanced Overshields and the ability to spawn Ward of Dawn, a skilled Sentinel can make quite the difference in keeping your Fireteam alive during difficult encounters. You can also lean into offense with the Sentinel Shield ability or fit somewhere in the middle by providing a roaming shield with the Banner Shield ability.
This Arc-infused Subclass is all about getting up close and personal with your enemies. Each variation turns your Titan into a virtual juggernaut, either propelling you forward at a rapid rate, launching you into the air like a missile, or allowing you to unleash one massive slam attack. It’s a great option for clearing ADS and provides a solid balance between protection, damage, and speed to keep you out of danger.
If you’re looking for a longer-lasting series of abilities, the Solar-based Sunbreaker Subclass is your best option. By leveraging splash damage, burn abilities, and ranged attacks, it turns the typically tank-like Titan into a devastating cannon. You can either embrace taking a single shot approach or opt for a deeper pool of attacks to unleash as much fire damage as possible.
The first Darkness Subclass makes your Titan far more nimble while still allowing you to create a more specific area of effect with your damage output. Laying out massive pillars of ice that you can then break with an extended slide creates a dual damage effect against enemies. It’s by far the most versatile Subclass available and does require the Beyond Light campaign to unlock.
Be sure to check out our full Titan Subclass rankings list for a deep dive into which skill trees to build out first.
Destiny 2 Class — Hunter
Hunters are the most popular Class type in Destiny 2. They ooze style and lean into the space cowboy aesthetic. It probably helps that Nathan Fillion was the face of this class for so long (RIP Cayde-6).
So, it only makes sense that playing as a Hunter is all about being elusive, laying traps, and toeing the line between stealth and all-out gunfights. If you’re a fan of staying mobile and playing the sharpshooter in FPS titles, the Hunter should be your go-to. It’s a bit less traditional but makes for an exciting experience.
Hunter Class Ability
As a Hunter, your signature ability is your dodge. This explosive maneuver is designed to immediately shift you out of harm’s way, and can even be upgraded with specific Mods and Armor. Depending on what you choose, you also gain additional gameplay benefits.
The Marksman’s Dodge is a short-range movement that reloads your currently equipped weapon. It’s perfect to use alongside anything with a hefty reload speed such as Shotguns and Rocket Launchers. The Gambler’s Dodge, on the other hand, is a far more drastic leap that will break enemy targeting and recharge your melee. This is perfect for the more daring Hunter that likes to get up close.
Every Hunter Subclass uses the same three jump options. Here’s what you have to choose from.
- High Jump: Your second jump when airborne will activate a quick higher jump.
- Triple Jump: Execute two to three smaller jumps with increased maneuverability.
- Strafe Jump: Similar to the Gambler’s Dodge, execute an explosive second jump in any direction.
What about the Subclass for Hunters within this Destiny 2 classes explained? Well, each Hunter Subclass will either make you more elusive or help you take out enemies from a distance. You’ll either be swiftly maneuvering through the battlefield, entrapping enemies, or quick scoping with deadly accuracy. Each option feels distinct but similar, making any path consistent and easy to adapt to.
A Void Subclass built around stealth and trapping enemies, the Nightstalker really embraces the Hunter moniker. Whether you’re using Shadowshot to tether enemies or phasing in and out to get up close with Spectral Blades, it truly turns every enemy into your prey. You can even translate your invisibility to the rest of your Fireteam with smoke bombs, making it a perfect support option in tight situations.
The Arc-infused abilities of this Subclass almost make your attacks look like an elaborate dance. With your Arc Staff in hand, you can swiftly move through the arena taking out enemies or using it to deflect projectiles back at the user. It’s a far more aggressive Subclass, that benefits from melee and grenade abilities that disorient and deal additional damage.
For those that truly want to live the space cowboy fantasy, Gunslinger is the best choice. Ditch getting up close with throwing knives, trip-mine grenades, and the three- or six-shooter Golden Gun. Think of this as the Subclass where even when you’re surrounded and things are looking dire, a quick melee, grenade throw, or Super-pop will take out multiple enemies with ease and leave you in the clear.
Stasis was seemingly built for Hunters. With each Aspect and Fragment, you’re able to fine-tune your playstyle to leverage your dodge and slow enemies, cause additional freezing output, or even dive-bomb enemies. On top of that, rather than having a ranged or melee-based Super, you get one that unleashes a massive ice storm, allowing you to do what you do best from inside.
Be sure to check out our full Hunter Subclass rankings list for a deep dive into which skill trees to build out first.
Destiny 2 Class — Warlock
The Warlock is the most balanced class within this guide to Destiny 2 classes explained, and also embraces the space wizard moniker wholeheartedly. As a Warlock, the different Elements are your greatest strength, and you’re able to wield them more aptly than other Classes.
They’re combo makers and truly represent the glue between Titans and Hunters. By stacking abilities, ramping up takedowns to shorten cooldowns and create opportunities for other players, they’re an often overlooked but invaluable Class to choose.
Warlock Class Ability
As a Warlock, you’re either able to overcharge recovery or damage output with your Class Ability. The Healing Rift grants a moderate recovery over time with the opportunity to produce an overshield if you stand in it with full health. The Empowering Rift increases weapon damage for you and anyone else on your Fireteam as long as they stand within it. Both Rift types can also negate enemy abilities with differing degrees of effectiveness.
Every Warlock Subclass uses the same three jump options. Here’s what you have to choose from.
- Controlled Glide: Your second jump activates a slow airborne drift with slight directional control.
- Burst Glide: Your second jump activates an airborne drift with an explosive burst of speed.
- Balanced Glide: Your second jump activates an airborne drift with moderate speed and control.
Warlock Subclasses are built around your ability to take to the skies and leverage distinct elemental abilities. They’re both offensive and defensive, making you a much more balanced option than the other Classes. Your choices here really depend on if you like going all in at once or would rather entrap enemies to take them down.
Damage, kill, and regenerate. That’s the general loop with Voidwalker, which truly makes you feel like a space wizard. Your Void energy sucks all the Light out of everything and brings it to you with the Nova Bomb, or allows you to become a teleporting bomb with Nova Warp. Everything else, from your melee to your grenades, grants some sort of ability or health recharge, meaning you can unleash abilities, rack up kills and keep on fighting without skipping a beat.
This may be the closest thing to playing as Raiden from Mortal Kombat in an FPS title. With this Arc Subclass, you’re teeming with electricity and able to float around arenas seeking out and electrocuting enemies. You can chain lightning between enemies, unleash an enormous beam of energy, and even make adjustments to your Rifts. All while still gaining that beneficial health or ability regeneration from successful kills.
Dawnblade has the widest range of use between any Subclass. Take to the skies and unleash a fiery wave with your flame sword or pierce the ground to radiate a powerful aura that heals and empowers allies. The rest of your abilities are all focused on continuous damage output, leaving enemies burning in your wake.
This Darkness Subclass falls somewhere in between the automated tracking of Voidwalker and the concussive nature of Stormcaller. With your frozen crystal staff, you can send out freezing projectiles that target enemies. Then follow up with an explosive crash that shatters anyone frozen nearby. The Aspects and Fragments here are completely designed around ability regeneration, so this does eliminate the health support in other Subclasses in favor of pure damage output.
Be sure to check out our full Warlock Subclass rankings list for a deep dive into which skill trees to build out first.
Become a High Grounder
Choosing the right Class can be a difficult decision, but hopefully, this guide on the Destiny 2 classes explained will help you find the right option to fit your playstyle. Make sure to help the rest of your Fireteam out by sharing this article with them on your favorite social channels. And for more on Destiny 2, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.